Classier than a Jell-O shot and ridiculously simple to make, these grown-up pudding cups make for a perfect addition to any and every party spread.

By Lauren Musgrove
Updated December 22, 2016
Mint Chocolate Pudding Shots image
| Credit: Lauren Musgrove

I have my mom to thank for introducing me to my new favorite desert and drink combo: the pudding shot. She gets in on cooking trends every now and then, and while many may be but a passing glimmer in the Instagram spotlight, I can tell you this: the pudding shot is here to stay (hopefully). They are incredibly easy to make, delicious, and appropriate for any season and occasion. They work great for a holiday cocktail hour spread, as well as for your summer cookouts (in lieu of, or in addition to, ice cream and popsicles). Being that these shooters are fairly small in size, they keep both alcohol and calories per serving at a reasonable amount. Also, major bonus—you can make them in advance and store them in your freezer for up to a month. Now, that’s my kind of meal planning.

To make your pudding shots, all you need is milk, Cool Whip, and your choice of pudding mix and alcohol. Then, make it your own; top and layer with anything from crushed pecans to chocolate syrup, or even cake crumbles. With so many flavor options, it was difficult to decide what I wanted to try first. I settled on these three: red velvet, mint chocolate, and turtle cheesecake.

Red Velvet Pudding Shot

Red Velvet Pudding Shots image
| Credit: Lauren Musgrove

Red Velvet Pudding Shots image Photo: Lauren Musgrove

For all my red velvet cake lovers out there—enjoy this double dessert fusion of cake and pudding. This shot utilizes cheesecake pudding (to mimic cream cheese frosting) and vodka, for its neutral flavor. It is definitely the strongest out of all three that I tried given the choice of alcohol (not that that’s a bad thing, just letting you know).

Mint Chocolate Pudding Shot

Mint Chocolate Pudding Shots image
| Credit: Lauren Musgrove

Mint Chocolate Pudding Shots image Photo: Lauren Musgrove

When I mixed together the chocolate pudding and Crème de Menthe, I was worried that the color and texture might turn out weird. With some extra mixing, however, it looked great. Just keep in mind that you may have to give this one a few additional stirs. As far as flavor goes, it tastes amazing—just like a drunken Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie! This one would make for an awesome alternative to an after dinner mint.

Turtle Cheesecake Pudding Shot

Turtle Cheesecake Pudding Shots image
| Credit: Lauren Musgrove

Turtle Cheesecake Pudding Shots image Photo: Lauren Musgrove

The layering in this one is my absolute favorite. It has so many wonderful flavors and textures going on—pure decadence in a shot glass. The cheesecake pudding and Irish cream liqueur are an incredible team. Not to pat myself on the back, but I give 5 stars for this beauty.

Note: I used standard, clear shot glasses to make my pudding shots, because I wanted to show off all the beautiful layers and give them an elegant touch. You can also make them in soufflé cups, or those smaller plastic cups with fitted lids if you are storing the shots for an extended period (and need to use your shot glasses and soufflé cups for other things in the meantime).